John Bridges

John Bridges

Professor of Planetary Science, University of Leicester
At the Space Research Centre we use a range of techniques (scanning electron microscopes, transmission electron microscopes, focused ion beam, Diamond synchrotron) to study early Solar System processes related to the origin of asteroids and comets, and the evolution of Mars. In particular, we study cometary samples returned by the Stardust mission, asteroid samples returned from S-class asteroid Itokawa by the Hayabusa mission, and martian meteorites including the nakhlites with their unique hydrothermal assemblage that we have characterised, and the NWA 7034 regolith breccia.

We also use remote images and spectral data to study the surface of planetary bodies, particularly the evolution of the Mars surface and climate. For instance, the CASSIS stereo, colour camera, which is part of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter for 2016 is one of the new ways we will study the Mars surface. As a member of the European Landing Site Selection Working Group I look at the places where we may land the ExoMars 2020 (launch) rover, in particular using HiRISE imagery.

Bridges is also a participating scientist PI and ChemCam team member on the NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission, one of the most ambitious planetary missions ever achieved. You can follow the progress of Mars Science Laboratory by reading my blog and see more about our Mars surface and meteorite research.

Follow our activities via twitter @LeicsPlanets

Recent Mission and Advisory Committee Roles

2020 Sept - Chair, UKSA Space Exploration Advisory Committee

2020 Member of STFC Solar System Advisory Panel and UKSA Science Programme Advisory Committee

2018- UK Robotic Exploration Oversight Committee REXOC member

2013- HiRISE Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera team member

2013- ExoMars/Roscosmos 2020 Rover Landing Site Selection Steering Group

2013- Hayabusa Sample Allocation Committee

2012-14 Member of the UK Space Agency Space Exploration Advisory Committee

2011- Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist team leader and MSL ChemCam team member

2010- CaSSIS Stereo, colour imager, Co-I for the 2016 ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

2008 Member of Mars Sample Return planning team (iMARS 2008).

2007- Co-I MIXS X-ray telescope for Mercury

2007- ExoMars PanCam Co-I

2006- Stardust Mineralogy team member

2003 Beagle2

Space Science Series

Nasa to overhaul mission returning samples from Mars – here’s why it must and will go ahead

Apr 23, 2024 08:00 am UTC| Insights & Views Technology

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Latest inflation figures are good news

The U.S. economy is slowing, but not crashing. In the dismal science, this is what counts as good news. Thats the message I took away from the latest inflation data, released May 15, 2024, which showed U.S. consumer...

The budget is full of good news, but good news isn’t the same as good management

This years budget has something for everyone, with very little in the way of cuts and no new taxes. Its a classic good news pre-election budget. Whether it is too good to be true hinges on whether this budget...

Interest rates: the ugly dilemma facing Europe’s central banks – and why it’s a mistake to cut too soon

Central banks in Europe are discovering an old dilemma: when they lower interest rates because inflation is slowing down, its likely to weaken their currencies. This in turn may delay the fall in inflation towards their...

Europe is still in short-term crisis mode over Ukraine and lacks a vision for its post-war identity

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Mortgage prisoners: regulatory changes and low credit scores have left thousands trapped in a cycle of high payments

There are 8.5 million households in the UK who own a home with a residential mortgage, often with fixed interest rates from two to five years. Usually, when that mortgage deal ends, the borrower will move to another deal...


Why is the government proposing caps on international students and how did we get here?

The federal government is due to introduce legislation on Thursday to enable new caps on the number of international student places at educational institutions in Australia. These include universities, TAFEs and private...

Britain is not as broken as everyone seems to think

According to many politicians and commentators, the UK is in a very sorry state. Ahead of the general election expected this year, Labour leader Keir Starmer has pledged to fix broken Britain. He has spoken of his vow...

Belief in democracy is on the decline in Africa

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Term limits aren’t the answer

Theres no denying that the current Congress has been one of the most chaotic in recent memory. The paralysis in 2023 and 2024 over the selection of the speaker of the House helped lead to one of Congress most unproductive...

An obscure provision of Ohio law could keep Biden off the ballot there in November

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Black holes are mysterious, yet also deceptively simple − a new space mission may help physicists answer hairy questions about these astronomical objects

Physicists consider black holes one of the most mysterious objects that exist. Ironically, theyre also considered one of the simplest. For years, physicists like me have been looking to prove that black holes are more...

Is dark matter’s main rival theory dead? There’s bad news from the Cassini spacecraft and other recent tests

One of the biggest mysteries in astrophysics today is that the forces in galaxies do not seem to add up. Galaxies rotate much faster than predicted by applying Newtons law of gravity to their visible matter, despite those...

Why are algorithms called algorithms? A brief history of the Persian polymath you’ve likely never heard of

Algorithms have become integral to our lives. From social media apps to Netflix, algorithms learn your preferences and prioritise the content you are shown. Google Maps and artificial intelligence are nothing without...

IceCube researchers detect a rare type of energetic neutrino sent from powerful astronomical objects

About a trillion tiny particles called neutrinos pass through you every second. Created during the Big Bang, these relic neutrinos exist throughout the entire universe, but they cant harm you. In fact, only one of them is...

The Mars Sample Return mission has a shaky future, and NASA is calling on private companies for backup

A critical NASA mission in the search for life beyond Earth, Mars Sample Return, is in trouble. Its budget has ballooned from US$5 billion to over $11 billion, and the sample return date may slip from the end of this...


Top 5 Reasons Why SEC's Approval Shocks the Crypto Community

The landmark acceptance of eight Spot Ethereum ETFs by the United States. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) represents a significant milestone in the evolution of cryptocurrency investment products. Influenced...

Top 2024 Memorial Day EV Deals: Savings on Tesla, Kia, Ford, and Mercedes Models

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ASML and TSMC Prepared to Use Kill Switch if China Invades Taiwan

ASML and TSMC have a kill switch that can remotely disable chipmaking machines if China invades Taiwan, raising global concerns over the semiconductor industrys vulnerabilities. Global Concerns Rise as ASML and TSMC...

Resolution Overturning SEC Crypto Rule Awaits Joe Biden's Decision — What's Next?

President Joe Biden has ten days to decide on H.J.Res.109 seeks to overturn the SECs crypto rule, which would impact financial institutions that deal with cryptocurrency startups. Despite House Approval, Bidens...
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